A claimant in North Carolina must file their weekly certification online. The option to file by phone is no longer available. An applicant having trouble with the online system should contact the North Carolina Division of Employment Security (DES) Customer Call Center at 888-737-0259. The claimant must submit a weekly certification after each week for which they want to receive benefits. The certification is a set of questions that verifies whether the individual was able, available and looking for work in the prior week.
File After Initial Application for Unemployment Insurance Benefits
Claimants should not wait to file weekly certifications until they hear from DES that they are eligible for benefits. They must file a weekly certification within 14 days after each week of unemployment to receive unemployment insurance (UI) payments. A claimant should allow up to 48 hours for payments to be fully processed. DES provides payments by direct deposit or a debit card issued by Bank of America.
Consequences of Failing to File Weekly Certification
When a claimant fails to file a weekly certification on time, they will not be paid unemployment benefits for that week, and will be required to reopen their claim. Typically, the claimant would also be required to serve a waiting week to receive benefits, but during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, a claimant is not required to serve the waiting period.
Work Search Requirement Reinstated
In order for claimants to establish eligibility for UI benefits, as well as for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), the claimant must make three work search contacts per week. This requirement was waived in mid-March when the pandemic began, but North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper reinstated the work search requirement by executive order on March 10, 2021.
The [work search requirement](https://des.nc.gov/apply-unemployment/your-work-search-responsibilities#:~:text=Work%20Search%20Guidelines,participating%20in%20reemployment%20activities%20(ex.) states that a claimant must make contact with three different employers per week and keep a record of their search. A work search record should contain the date of the contact or activity; the name of the company or activity; the contact method; the name of the person contacted; the website, email address, fax number, phone number or physical address for the contact or activity; the position the claimant is seeking; and the results of the search. If the claimant is using an employment website, they should provide the name of the employer with which they are applying and the name of the employment website, such as records clerk at the University of North Carolina and Indeed.
The claimant must maintain work search records for five years. The claimant may temporarily satisfy two of the three employer contacts by engaging in reemployment activities, such as workshops, self-assessments and career fairs offered by their local NC Works Career Center and partner agencies. NC Works is holding a number of events online. A claimant must also register with a job seeker account on NC Works.
Return to Work
An individual who engages in freelance work or self-employment must maintain availability for taking a full-time position to remain eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. A claimant receiving unemployment benefits who is working part time and who returns to work can earn up to 20 percent of their weekly benefit amount (WBA) without seeing a reduction in their WBA. North Carolina’s WBA ranges from $15 to $350.
If the claimant earns more than 20 percent of their WBA, DES will deduct the overage on a dollar-for-dollar basis. A claimant must report wages, retirement, severance, separation pay, wages in lieu of notice, and workers’ compensation.
Attached Claims for Unemployment
When a claimant remains employed, but is temporarily laid off, the employer may file an attached claim on their behalf. The attached claim does not require the claimant to register for work or actively seek work. An employer usually files an attached claim when an employee worked less than 60 percent of their typical scheduled full-time hours. An employer is only allowed to file an attached claim for an employee once a year. The period that an attached claim lasts cannot be more than six consecutive weeks.
- North Carolina Division of Employment Security: Unemployment Insurance FAQs
- North Carolina Division of Employment Security: File Your Weekly Certification
- North Carolina Division of Employment Security: How Do I Claim My Weekly Benefits?
- North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper: Executive Order 200
- North Carolina Division of Employment Security: Report Work and Earnings
- North Carolina Division of Employment Security: Debit Card Support
- NC Works.gov: Homepage
- North Carolina Division of Employment Security: Before You Apply
- North Carolina Division of Employment Security: Your Work Search Responsibilities
Jessica Zimmer is a journalist and attorney based in northern California. She has practiced in a wide variety of fields, including criminal defense, property law, immigration, employment law, and family law.